Makati Mayor Abby Binay has expressed optimism that the city government’s technology-enabled programs would benefit more Makatizens this year, owing to increased revenue collection and a fresh overwhelming mandate in the 2019 polls.

“I am glad to tell you that we have surpassed last year’s revenue target by ten percent as of December 31. Our business sector continues to make the biggest contribution to the city’s coffers,” Mayor Abby said in her State of the City Address before the Rotary Club of Makati Tuesday.

Based on the City Treasurer’s yearend report, the city’s actual total revenue collection in 2019 has reached P18.77 billion, which topped the 2018 collection by five percent and surpassed the revenue goal for the year by 10 percent.

“Makatizens can look forward to better health and social services since I am confident that our new set of councilors will help us attain our goal to improve the quality of life of residents,” Mayor Abby said.

She shared her administration’s major achievements in 2019 as well as priority projects and programs aimed to spur the city’s digital transformation and sustainable development.

The mayor said the new Ospital ng Makati in District 1 is set to be completed in 2022, adding that it is envisioned to have a Cancer Institute “that will be at par with the region’s best”.

“We are currently in talks with key health institutions in Singapore on how we can make this a reality. What I want is to provide the best care at the least cost,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor also bared plans to store medical records in a database and computerize prescriptions for patients. Also on the list is the establishment of an e-health system, which automatically transmits the medical records of patients in barangay health centers.

She said that this year, Health got the biggest share of the total budget among the social sub-sectors, with P5.26 billion or 29.17 percent of P18 billion budget for social services.

The mayor also revealed plans to build a well-equipped “digital school” with fast and reliable internet connection and to upgrade existing learning centers to hone the competencies of students and teachers.

In addition to complete school gear and supplies provided for free to public school students including SPED and ALS learners, Mayor Abby said the city will soon provide nutritious meals to them so their parents need not worry about their daily allowance.

Citing the P1.43-billion budget for education this year, the mayor vowed to “continue providing cutting edge and top-notch education for young Makatizens for them to be globally competitive individuals.”

Another project in the pipeline is the construction of a public columbarium that offers free cremation and inurnment services to city residents, she said.

The mayor said for this year, P1.3 billion has been allotted for the social welfare sector to allow for the delivery of better social services.

Mayor Abby also said the second phase of the Makatizen Card program will soon be implemented to make the card available also to the business sector, including transient workers in companies and business establishments.

As part of efforts to go “paperless”, the mayor announced plans to digitize business permits, licenses and clearances, in addition to the ongoing development of an enhanced business permit and licensing system.

Mayor Abby highlighted innovations made in public health last year, such as the purchase of new medical and diagnostic equipment for the Ospital ng Makati in Pembo and the use of a mobile queuing system for barangay health centers to ensure orderly and convenient consults for Makatizens.

The Eye Center in OsMak served a total of 3,381 patients, while 436 patients were given free digital mammogram using the newly acquired machine at the hospital.

“Through outsourcing, we have made available ‘unli-dialysis’ services to nearly 3,900 patients with kidney diseases in private dialysis centers in the city and nearby areas,” she added.

From January to December, the city provided free medicines to 680,831 active Yellow Card holders and their qualified dependents, distributed anti-dengue kits to 86,725 students, and conducted misting and ovi-larvae trapping operations in dengue-prone areas for free. It has also started its Palliative and Hospice Care program providing special care to patients with chronic and terminal ailments including the elderly.

Makati has achieved a significant increase in its percentage of fully immunized children from 61.3 percent in 2018 to 85 percent in 2019, with its intensified immunization drive against deadly communicable diseases.

The mayor also shared notable achievements and initiatives in the Education sector in line with the goal of transforming the city’s public school students into “Makati Digizens”. She noted that students have been able to use the city’s free public WiFi in doing their research and assignments, while public schools last year have started using radio-frequency IDs to track students and monitor their attendance.

Graduates from the University of Makati have also done the city proud by posting a 100 percent passing rate in licensure exams for pharmarcists, radiologic technologists and nurses.

Last year, Makati started to offer college scholarships of up to P80,000 to public high school graduates in the city who want to pursue higher education in public or private universities and colleges in Metro Manila.

“We hope that more students in our public schools will be motivated to excel in their studies since we are giving them practically everything for free,” Mayor Abby said.

For social services, Mayor Abby said the City Council has approved the proposal to raise the cash gift of nonagenarians to P10,000 under the Blu Card program. Senior citizens aged 60 to 89 will continue to receive cash gifts ranging from P3,000 to P5,000 per year.

To date, around 85,000 Blu Card holders continue to receive premium benefits from the city, including unlimited free movie passes which other local government units have seen fit to adopt with some modifications.

Moreover, the city had given burial assistance for 1,698 Blu Card members last year.

The mayor also gave an update on PPP-led digital initiatives of the city including the Makatizen Card, which now has 85,000 card holders, and the Makati Public WiFi Project which now covers all 25 target barangays with the complete installation of a fiber-optic loop cable.

She also expressed confidence that her “legacy project”, the Makati Subway System, will be finished on time and serve as “a catalyst for inclusive and sustainable economic growth and social progress not just in the city, but throughout the nation.”

“Makati is on its way to meeting its goal of becoming the country’s first smart city with a safe and livable environment that uplifts the well-being of residents, students, and workers,” she stated, and called on fellow local chief executives to also harness technology to improve the quality of life of their constituents.

Underscoring the role of the business sector as the city’s “indispensable partners”, she concluded her speech stating, “Through our collective efforts, we will be able to build and develop a smart and sustainable city that can withstand the challenges of the future.” (MAKATI PIO)

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